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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Double Feature: The Muppet Christmas Carol and A Muppet Family Christmas Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: The Muppets are at it again in these two Christmas specials.

Review: Alright, time for the final review of the year, and I'll take things out in style. I discussed last year how much I love "A Christmas Carol" so I wanted to take a look at one of the more fun incarnations of the story. On top of that, I decided I might as well take a trip into the past in order to dig up a beloved TV special. I've always had a soft spot for the Muppets despite an extremely childish sense of humor to their jokes and bits. What can I say, they're genuinely good, clean fun for the whole family to enjoy. Okay, let's jump into this!

The Muppet Christmas Carol: Oddly enough, the most striking thing I recall whenever I watch this film is how, when I was in college, a girl asked me if this was a horror movie! Yeah...a straight up splatterfest. To be fair, I obviously had a certain reputation with film and horror--and she was from Vietnam--but come on, my dear! Oh...college hijinks! Anyway, "MCC" took various liberties with the source material to keep things rated G and to fit in cornball songs. However, if you overlook the deviations from the story, and appreciate the way the Muppets present their brand of humor, you should have no problem going with the flow.

This time around, Michael "burn down the forest" Caine takes on the role of Scrooge with the remaining cast filled in by the Muppets; though, there are a few exceptions. New characters are added to give the Muppets more positions as well as some characters cut to speed up the pacing. This can be frustratingly annoying to purists but should appease the kiddies; for example: Fred is an asshole and Fan isn't even mentioned. There are a few amusing instances where they play with the names like Fozziewig instead of Fezziwig. As you may guess, the story plays out just as it always has in the hundreds of variations--what with the spirits and redemption yada yada--but this version is especially upbeat. I mean, they end this with, pretty much, every single character celebrating at the Cratchit house. Overall, it's a fun excursion into literature with a Muppet spin on things. If you just so happen to enjoy the Muppets and "A Christmas Carol" alike, you will love this!

A Muppet Family Christmas: Some may be wondering: what the hell this is? Well, it's an amazing TV special from 1987. Basically, this was the ultimate Jim Henson experience as you had, not only, the Muppets, but the "Sesame Street" and "Fraggle Rock" crews. It was only an hour long special, but it's awesome! On youtube they even have versions of this with the commercials intact! It doesn't get any better than that. If you're clueless to this little film's existence, you're seriously missing out, and it's time to rectify that mistake!

There isn't much to the story as the Muppets are simply visiting Fozzie's grandma as a surprise. The grandma had plans to spend Christmas surfing, but she cancels it to accommodate the Muppets. An old man had planned to rent the house while the grandma was gone so you see his anger when dealing with the Muppets. They also keep stressing that the Muppets are weirdos and that the other freaks are "monsters." That's a good one. Needless to say, the typical Muppet humor is employed throughout--with cheesy as hell songs included too. Once all the Muppets have settled in, the "Sesame Street" gang shows up out of the blue to crash the party. The only drama comes into play when a snowstorm starts and Miss Piggy is stranded somewhere. To keep things interesting, Kermit discovers an opening to Fraggle Rock beneath the house. By the end, Miss Piggy conveniently is rescued and all the characters sit around singing carols. Let's just say, this special is off the charts cornball as fuck...but you have got to love it!

I highly recommend checking one or both of these bad boys out while still in the holiday spirit. Obviously you need to like the Muppets, but this is great for when relatives are over or just whenever. The nostalgia is definitely present as well which makes it that much more touching. I can't decide which one is better so I'll leave it up to the viewer to decide the preference. Lastly, happy New Year!

Notable Moment: During "MFC" when they watch a reel of the Muppet babies. That's some pretty good cross-promotion.

Final Rating: 7/10 (for both)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Santa's Slay Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After a thousand years of bringing Christmas joy, Santa is free to do what he originally intended: to wreak murderous havoc.

Review: Christmas may be over, but when has a little thing like that stopped me? I had heard good things about this film, and it did start off cool, but this feels like a family movie or something. Yeah, sure, maybe there is nudity and gory deaths, but it still felt as if it was made for the Hallmark Channel! Maybe it's the cinematography, or the characters, or the ridiculous setup, but I can't help but imagine the few R-rated elements edited out and this is ready to go for the kiddies. I'm sure others will overlook this aspect, but it was killing the experience for me.

The story is that Santa is really the son of Satan and used to kill people and cause chaos at Christmas time. Then, a thousand years ago, an angel challenged Santa to a curling match in which the angel won. The conditions of this defeat meant that Santa had to spread joy to the world at Christmas time. In the present day, the conditions have worn off, and Santa is free to kill all the people that had been annoying him in recent Christmas memory. This leads to Santa coming to a town unbelievably called "Hell." In Hell, Santa wants to kill the angel who defeated him the millennium ago now that said angel has turned human. By the way, Santa is played by the wrestler, Goldberg, and the other characters are super annoying when I believe they were meant to be funny.

Hijinks ensue around town as Santa kills a bunch of people, and pursues the angel and his grandson. After seemingly killing the angel, Santa tries to kill the grandson and his girlfriend for whatever reason. There are a few moments when you think the film is about to end, but then it continues onward as if forcing that running time to the 90 minute mark (which it didn't meet). The angel manages to come back to save the grandson and claims that Santa will be vulnerable when Christmas is over. Out of the blue, a bunch of people try to shoot Santa as he flees, and the girlfriend's dad appears to use a bazooka on Santa. Yeah, they went there. Santa manages to survive, of course, and they make a big deal about him traveling back to the North Pole as if this is funny.

Eh, I guess I can understand someone thinking this movie is humorous. I felt like it overstays its welcome more than once, and the jokes were too tame given that this is a film with nudity. The kills were decent, and I can appreciate certain aspects that were over the top. The little claymation part was amusing but only added to the notion that this would have worked better as a light horror for kids. Overall, this was simply average--it didn't live up to the applause other reviews I read gave it, but it wasn't a complete waste. However, there are certainly better films to seek out this holiday that's for sure.

Notable Moment: The opening killing spree. If only this film could have maintained that level of over the top humor.

Final Rating: 5/10

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Jingle All the Way 2 Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: The same exact plot as the original except make the kid a girl instead of a boy and the dad a divorced redneck instead of a suburban workaholic.

Review: I know, let's take one of the most hated Christmas movies of all time and give it a sequel nearly 20 years later! Why...oh god, WHY?! No, this can't be real, can it? This is the kind of situation where you think you're dreaming and have to do a triple-take. I can't even be mad--this shit is just funny, and I can't stop laughing. This is soooo fucking stupid. Like...was this film's creation someone's dying wish or something? Okay, I'm going to go out on a limb here--so stop me if this sounds too crazy--but what if the makers honestly knew the movie's sheer existence would be so unbelievably idiotic, that the curiosity alone would potentially sell DVDs? I know it worked for me. It's like Pandora's box--I had to know what's inside!

As you may easily guess, the story has absolutely nothing to do with the first film nor acknowledges it in any shape or form. However, the core concept of the plot remains the same with a dad trying to get the hottest toy too late and going all over town with zany antics ensuing. Yeah, because that was hilarious the first time around. While I defend the first film, mostly due to its subtle satire of '90s culture and mindless consumerism, I can't ignore that it was blatantly retarded in most regards. Unfortunately, this film did not understand that brand of satire and appeals directly toward the infantile humor that the present society would be entertained by. This means the jokes manage to be even more juvenile and moronic than the first film's already pathetic sense of humor. How is that possible? Plus, you have that snowball phenomenon I've discussed before whereby each terrible scene tries to out-due the previous one in a race to the bottom.

The original presented the notion of Arnie, a workaholic, trying desperately to prove his love for his son by getting him the toy he wants most. By the end, he realizes that all the son really wanted was for Arnie to spend more time with him. This film, on the other hand, decided to make the father divorced and competing with the stepdad for the favoritism of the daughter. The conflict is that the father is a redneck living in a trailer while the stepdad is the CEO of his own company. The rare toy in question this time is a talking teddy bear except the two dumbass dads fail to realize the girl didn't really want the toy, because they misinterpreted her letter to Santa. By the end, after a seemingly endless barrage of eye-roll inducing scenes, the two dads become friends and the little girl gets the happy family she wants. Oh shut the fuck up. The real moral of the story is don't get married and avoid this disaster altogether.

What can I say, really? The film sort of speaks for itself; it's terrible from start to finish. The jokes are slightly too mature for kids and they admit Santa is not real. At the same time, the plot is too cornball that I can't imagine anyone other than a kid being entertained by it. This means we have a little problem on our hands: the film was designed for no one and rightfully so--it shouldn't exist! If you're a glutton for punishment then I guess put this on as you sit around the fire this Christmas as you will certainly get exactly what you'd expect (and maybe a little more). Perhaps you will find the notion of this film's existence humorous enough to get your through the ordeal.

Notable Moment: The absolute worst moment was when Larry is body slammed by a little person and says he shit himself. Good lord, if that doesn't sum up the feeble-minded demographic they were going for, I don't what else could.

Final Rating: 3/10

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ju-on: The Beginning of the End Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: An alternate retelling of the Saeki family's murder and the grudge haunting that resulted.

Review: Well, I have to take a brief intermission from the Christmas movies as I discovered this film's surprising existence. Or maybe this is a Christmas gift in a way. As a huge "Grudge" enthusiast, I feel it's my obligation to review this film as soon as possible (and by asap I mean 6 months later). Let's face it, there are two ladies in my life I can hardly go a review without mentioning: my goddess, Rika, and my lovable, yet creepy, undead friend, Kayako; just don't bring up Natre or all hell breaks loose! Rika may have the looks, but Kayako has those sexy croaking noises--goddamn--so hot. I know Japan may see Sadako as the quintessential yurei, but she's really some kind of demigod or whatever. Kayako is supposed to be a regular woman so I prefer her. Plus, who doesn't want to take a trip off into Kayako-land?

"Enough of the games, Ryan, talk about the movie!" Okay, fine! This movie sucks plain and simple. Even "The Grudge 3" and "Ju-on: The Curse 2" were better with all things considered. That was hard for me to accept, but it's difficult to defend this film when it didn't stay true to the original story. They seriously ruined everything about the original to the point that I question whether they even watched any of the previous films. Kayako isn't even the main antagonist for god's sake! Besides, did this franchise really need ANOTHER version of the Saeki family murder? They've already told the same story 5 fucking times! Realistically, this franchise only has two legitimate sequels and one standalone entry--which is pathetic considering there are 9 (10 depending on your outlook) movies! This is why I love "Ju-on: The Grudge 2" so much since it tried to push the story forward while being awesomely scary at the same time. Is it really this hard to tell an original story? Fuck...no wonder Takako Fuji appears to have quit acting. Even Takashi Shimizu backed out...and he invented the damn franchise! That should tell you something.

Right now you're probably wondering what are the changes. Glad you asked! The most annoying change is that Toshio is the primary antagonist. My fucking god...no. Think of, say, "The Grudge" and imagine all the key scenes with Kayako now replaced with Toshio. Sounds stupid, huh? The only thing Kayako still does is the whole coming down the stairs trick. They probably only kept this scene because they knew it was the scariest part and couldn't think up anything original on their own. Why is Toshio the main villain anyway? Well, because he's apparently already a ghost before Kayako gave birth to him! Uuuuggghhh. In fact, they kind of give the implication that perhaps Toshio has been reincarnated multiple times, but, I admit, that's debatable. The entire story's flow of events have been reworked so that it is actually the Saeki family that are the ones moving into the house...which is haunted by Toshio. By the way, the house looks too plain and nowhere near as foreboding or atmospheric as the original. Kayako is impregnated by Toshio's spirit, she gives birth to evil Toshio, Takeo suspects the child is not his and kills them as usual, then Toshio takes over as the embodiment of the curse. No...

One thing that made me especially angry was Kayako's ghost not only talking but having whole conversations! She barely had makeup effects to boot. That's not the Kayako character anymore at that point. The same kind of fodder characters still end up dead, for the most part, but a lot of it feels out of place--like the girl with the jaw ripped off for example. They did continue with the vignette style of storytelling, but the segments are shorter and oddly paced. They also tried too hard to confuse the audience regarding the order of events as if it will be a cool realization that they ruined the story. And what's with the dumb spirals? Hello, did you forget that shit was from "Ringu?" See, I knew whoever wrote this didn't actually watch the original movies! Arrrgghh...that ending. What were they thinking?

If they got anything right about this entry it's that it sure as hell is the beginning of the end--for the franchise. I don't get it, why not simply continue with what "Ju-on: White/Black" was going for? That didn't have the Saeki family (for the most part), and it seemed like it was well received; it was a decent addition to the lore at the very least. Or, considering a few sources have cited this as "Ju-on 3," why not pick up where "Ju-on: The Grudge 2" left off with Kayako reborn? As it stands, this was an unnecessary entry that adds absolutely nothing to the franchise yet manages to hurt the series simultaneously. If you're a fan of this franchise, I cannot possibly recommend this to you. If this is your first foray into the series, then, whatever, maybe you'll get a little enjoyment out of it. Just know that the made for TV "Ju-on: The Curse" from 2000 looks to have better production value than this. Come on Japan, don't let this happen!

Notable Moment: When the main chick is in the shower. Now hold on! It's not what you think. This scene is especially stupid, because it's randomly inserted with no meaning or context. It's as if they forgot that the other films had Kayako screwing with people in the shower. Seriously, did they even watch any of the previous entries?

Final Rating: 4.5/10

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Updated Review #6: Silent Night (2012)


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: A small town is tormented by a killer Santa that is targeting those on his naughty list.

Review: Now we come to the end of the line with the remake, or, I guess, it's more of a reboot than anything. I don't know if we could call this a faithful remake, but I can appreciate the modern approach to the killer Santa. In truth, only a handful of events from the original are recreated, and the two plots have little in common. While the original focused on the troubled life of Billy-boy, and was told from his perspective, this film centers around the police trying to catch the killer. At this stage in horror, we've seen the killer Santa concept multiple times--so this film offset that issue by providing a gory splatterfest as a Christmas treat. Carnage candy as Randy would say. Considering that they included one of the most painful deaths I've seen, I think this film accomplished exactly what it was striving toward.

This time around, it's Christmas Eve and the story kicks things off with the killer Santa already hard at work; his opening victim is one of the few cops in town. Speaking of which, why does this town only have four cops total? Even Oblivion, Utah, from the original film had more cops. Anyway, they try to keep the identity of the killer a mystery which doesn't fully work and makes no apparent sense. We are introduced to the main character, Aubrey, who is another cop, and there's something about her husband being dead...I don't know. Malcolm McDowell plays the sheriff in this over the top, been watching too many police movies, kind of way; it's funny with him trying to deliver one-liners and make each thing he says sound important and/or cool. Of course the best part for me is the dispatcher, Brenda, played by the beautiful, yet underutilized, Ellen Wong. I get the impression Ms. Wong auditioned for the Aubrey role, but, even if she didn't, I would have liked to see her in the lead position. I don't care if she's the only Asian in this, middle of nowhere, town! While on the topic, I would really like to see Ms. Wong get more work--in horror if I may suggest--because there's no way in hell I'm watching the fucking "Carrie Diaries."

As I mentioned in my first review, there are a bunch of red herrings, for whatever reason, used as padding. This direction for the story doesn't fit well since we already know the people we meet will not be the killer. Regardless, the main two red herrings are some asshole who hates Christmas and a drug dealer. I do like the guy who hates Christmas since he brings up poignant truths about the holiday's sad state as well as the complete commercialization. Plus, he addresses the reason why depression and suicide are higher during this time of year. It's really quite fascinating if you look into the legitimate research based on holiday depression and couple that with the materialism and spoiled brat mentality of society. Wait, am I the killer Santa? While the police are twiddling their thumbs trying to figure out what's happening, the killer Santa is crossing more names off the naughty list. I did like that they killed a bratty teenage girl, but they could have gone balls to walls and killed a kid. Come on, don't wimp out.

At one point, the killer Santa goes to a hotel where he kills a bunch of idiots trying to shoot the worst amateur porn. This is the scene everyone remembers from this film as it's extremely brutal. One girl, played by Cortney Palm, ends up having her leg cut off and then she is shoved into a woodchipper feet first! Oh, what a way to go. I rarely defend a character from death in a slasher, but she shouldn't have been the one to meet that kind of fate. Shortly after this, the killer Santa kills the town priest, the mayor, and the mayor's horny daughter and brain-dead boyfriend while the cops are busy chasing those red herrings. Eventually Aubrey realizes that the Santa chose his victims ahead of time and sent them lumps of coal. This leads to Aubrey discovering her father's dead body and the sheriff gets torched with a flamethrower. Due to shenanigans, Brenda hides while one of the red herring Santas fights with the killer. Aubrey catches up and fights the killer Santa which includes an axe duel. Even though the sprinkler is going off and there is water everywhere, Aubrey thinks she kills the Santa with his own flamethrower. As you'd easily guess, the killer gets away. The film ends with the killer recollecting to his childhood when Aubrey's father killed another killer Santa--that past killer Santa was the killer's father. Ehh...at least Brenda lived.

They definitely missed an opportunity to tie this film into the original franchise. At least have a cameo from any original actor. Hell, that pointless scene with the catatonic grandpa could have been the perfect bit role for a cameo! Oh well, at least the nurse there was hot. They did, however, include a GARBAGE DAY reference so there's that. Overall, this isn't too bad of a movie; it's definitely better than all the sequels combined. While it's undoubtedly cheesy and shallow, the film accomplished it's goal of creating an entertaining slasher to watch while sitting around the fire and decorating your tree. You know, good ol' fashion family fun. The gore is great and the film never overstays its welcome. However, if I had to choose between the remake and the original...hmm...I'll give the edge to this one due to Ms. Wong; to each their own though. One last thing...did any film in this franchise ever even play the song, "Silent Night?!"

Notable Moment: I'm still sticking with the woodchipper scene. That poor girl did not deserve such a horrific death.

Final Rating: 6/10

Ms. Wong with that sexy little smirk on her face. See you under the mistletoe, my dear!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Silent Night, Deadly Night 5: The Toy Maker Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Zany antics ensue as someone really wants a random little boy to die for no particular reason.

Review: I know this will probably be hard to believe, but this is probably the second best film in the series (not counting the remake). This isn't to say this is a good movie by any stretch of the definition, but it is entertaining that's for sure. One thing that helped to put the story back on track was making Christmas more integral to the plot. The other positive thing was the abundance of shenanigans in practically every scene; I found myself laughing a lot and spit out my cereal at one point. Oddly enough, a couple of the characters from part 4 are still here, like Kim and Clint Howard, but I suppose that was meant to be humorous. However, I have to point out that this is probably the least focused horror franchise out there. None of these movies have any sense of direction or continuity.

Learning from the mistakes of the last three piece of shit movies, this film opens somewhat intriguing as someone has left a present for the main kid, Derek. Inside is a killer toy that ends up killing Derek's dad in the most roundabout way imaginable. Getting over the death beyond fast, the mom tries to cheer up the traumatized Derek by taking him to the local toy store, Petto's. Pshhh, whaaat?! Pedo's? You have got to be shitting me. Yeah, I get what they were going for with Mr. Petto having a kid named Pino, but come the fuck on, dude! Those names just don't work. After living up to the title, and pretty much molesting Derek, Mr. Petto ends up freaking out after Derek and his mom leave while some guy looks on. This random guy, as you might easily guess, is Derek's biological father and is stalking them rather than making his presence known immediately. The father ends up buying a few toys from Pedo including another killer toy that kills the owner of the hotel that the father is staying at.

When the mom and Derek go to the mall or wherever, Pino sneaks into their house and acts like a complete weirdo. Once more, it shouldn't be hard to guess Pino is a robot considering he hasn't aged in decades and given the title of the damned movie. It's almost as if they realized the one plot element missing from SN,DN 4, to make it a complete copy of "Halloween III," were the asinine robots. Anyway, someone has given Derek another killer toy, but he rightfully throws it away. Conveniently enough, that dumb kid from part 4 sees Derek throw the present away and takes it for himself. Inside are roller blades that hilariously make this kid roll his candy ass in front of a speeding car; unfortunately, the brat lives.

One night, Derek is with his babysitter when she decides she will fuck her boyfriend on Derek's bed. Yeah, 'cause that would happen. Pedo, dressed as Santa, shows up with a bunch of killer toys and sends them to attack the babysitter and her boyfriend. This part is surprisingly awesome as the two idiots keep thinking the other is doing some kind of kinky foreplay yet it's the killer toys. Speaking of which, I highly doubt horny dorks like these two would be going at foreplay for like 20+ minutes. Derek is captured in Santa's sack (that doesn't sound right) as the babysitter's boyfriend finally dies; miraculously, the babysitter herself lives despite being shot in the chest with what appeared to be a fatal blow. If this weren't ridiculous enough, while all this was happening, the father and the mom were also fucking in their car as they have finally reunited. My god...

When finally coming home, the parents realize Pedo captured Derek and they go to the toy store to get the kid. After going about things in the dumbest way feasibly possible, the mom realizes that Pedo is dead and Pino has been dressing up like him as he's a robot. It would seem Pino had been the one delivering the killer toys since he wants Derek to die because...uhhh...he wants to replace him? Hell if I know. Pino does claim he wants the mom to be his mother, but, for some, reason this translates into a lot of humping on Pino's part. Oh dear. The mom starts to kick Pino's ass, and even Derek starts to kick Pino's ass at one point. However, when the father fights, Pino magically becomes the fucking terminator all of a sudden. Consistency. The mom stabs Pino with a screwdriver, cuts him in half, and stomps his head which appears to kill him permanently. Now the mom is stuck with explaining who the fuck the father really is to Derek. What a skank...and what were you saying about men being parasites, part 4? But just when you think it's all over, they have prepared for part 6 (that will never come) with Pino apparently having backup bodies.

It's hard to imagine the transition process in this franchise from film to film. How the hell do you go from a traumatized guy going on a Christmas killing spree to witches and robots? Oh well. This was an amusing little film even if it felt significantly cheaper than the others. I could tell they were having fun with the material and so was I. The idiocy may be hard to take for some, but, honestly, if you're watching part 5 in a series called "Silent Night, Deadly Night," what could you realistically be hoping for? I do like the remake, but if you were stuck watching only entries from the main series, I would stick with the original and this one only. Part 2 has it's moments, but it's a rehash. Part 3 and 4 are simply too stupid to tolerate.

Notable Moment: There are a lot of priceless moments, but the best for me was when that dumb kid from part 4 gets run over by a car. Too bad they made him survive. What a tease.

Final Rating: 5/10

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Silent Night, Deadly Night 4: Initiation Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After the unusual death of a woman, a reporter finds herself on the longest LSD trip ever.

Review: What the hell did I just watch? (Rubs eyes...checks DVD description...watches opening credits again for confirmation) Whaaaaat? One does not simply make a movie like this without the influence of a mind-altering substance. Let's see, what does imdb have to say--right, 5 writers, makes perfect sense now. Seriously, this is one of the most bizarre movies I've ever had the misfortune to watch. My theory is that the moment the ball dropped on New Years Day 1990, all ideas for horror movies instantly turned to shit. This is supposed to be a generic slasher franchise about killer Santas. So why the fuck am I watching a montage of scenes about witches, giant beetles, Clint Howard playing Clint Howard, new age bullshit, living pasta hands, Clint Howard sex with old lady fluffers, men vs women debates (men win, nice try), child abductions, giant larvae, Clint Howard eating a burger, human combustion, '90s fashion, '90s hair, spirals, and Clint fucking Howard?!

The story is an incoherent series of events that are loosely strung together with a bullshit plot line about witches. There's like some chick who jumps from a building roof and half her body burns away. The main girl, Kim, wants to move up as a journalist so she takes it upon herself to look into the case. All of a sudden she comes into contact with witches and Clint Howard. From here on out, Kim, and the audience, embark on a massive LSD trip. It would seem, through shenanigans, the witches want Kim to join them; there is something about the leader wanting Kim to be her daughter or whatever. The witches are really annoying and talk a ton of shit about men but in ironic ways. I especially liked the leader of the witches claiming men have a parasitic tendency. That's a really good one--I didn't realize this film was striving for comedy. I think all the gold diggers of the world would like a word with you. Man, I could go on such a tangent on the pitiful state of modern women, but a piece of shit like SN,DN 4 is hardly the place for that. You're still the best, though, my dear Rika!

After being attacked by giant bugs and other random shit, Kim semi-embraces what's happening but not really. It's tough to say considering she's only lucid every other scene. Kim's boyfriend is killed at one point as Kim is forced into her literal metamorphosis to become a witch or whatever the fuck I'm supposed to assume is happening. Apparently that first girl that died failed to complete her ritual, and the witches tell Kim she must kill her dead boyfriend's brother as a sacrifice. Kim and Clint Howard capture the boy in the dumbest of ways. When Kim goes to complete the sacrifice, she ends up killing the leader of the witches instead along with Clint Howard. And that's essentially all that happens. Obviously I glossed over the majority of the zany antics, but, like I said, you've got to be high out of your mind to appreciate it.

Although this film was better than part three, which isn't saying much, it is hard to comprehend what is happening at any given moment. I think it's clear as day this was written before the SN,DN title was slapped on. The Christmas aspect to the plot is virtually nonexistent, and it's understandable why people say this feels like "Halloween III." Also, everything about the previous films has been disregarded, and the notable moment will explain why that is. This franchise is really starting to test my patience...not going to lie.

Notable Moment: When a crazed Kim is trying to seduce and bang her boyfriend. Then Clint Howard comes in and turns on the TV which is playing SN,DN part 3. Whaaaat the fuck...

Final Rating: 4/10

Silent Night, Deadly Night 3: Better Watch Out! Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Ricky continues his killing spree after being awakened from a coma by a girl with psychic powers.

Review: My goodness this was torture. While part two was amusingly bad, this followup is just plain terrible and boring as fuck. I fell asleep twice, and that is something noteworthy; only the "House of Wax" remake put me to sleep more times. How anyone could rate this film beyond a 5/10 blows my mind. The kills are lame and fail to capture the brutality of the original. The Christmas aspect felt tacked on which is dumb for a franchise based around a killer Santa; by the way, Ricky doesn't even put on the Santa outfit this time. You'd think shitty movies like this would practically write themselves, but I guess not.

The main character is some blind Jedi named Laura. While the Jedi are cool, Laura is a total bitch and not likable at all; plus, she is trying too hard to look like Jennifer Connelly. For whatever asinine reason, a doctor is using her psychic powers to look inside Ricky's comatose mind. Once again, why would anyone be doing shit like this on Christmas Eve? Ricky, played by Bill Moseley this time around, has suffered wounds inconsistent with part two and is fitted with a dumb bowl of jello on his head. He's also not funny anymore and walks around like some invincible Frankenstein's monster regardless of muscle atrophy. Conveniently enough, this psychic connection has awakened Ricky to the point that when he sees a guy dressed as Santa he snaps. Instead of dressing in the guy's Santa outfit, Ricky decides to stick with the hospital gown. Good choice--nothing like your bare ass flapping in the wind.

Laura and her brother are going to grandma's for Christmas, and Ricky manages to successfully hitchhike ahead of them. That's a good one. Dispensing with grandma, who also appears to be a Jedi master of bullshit, Ricky pointlessly waits around. The scariest part of the film was seeing Laura's brother in the bath--that hairy, Chewbacca-looking mother fucker. There is a moment of sheer, shitacular editing that was pitiful to behold: the brother and his girlfriend go out looking for grandma, then they're at the house talking to Laura, then back looking for grandma, then back again at grandma's house. Uhhh...I guess you could dream up a scenario that explains this, but I think the editing guy fell asleep when I did. While this is going on, Laura's doctor teams up with a detective to hunt down Ricky. Something you will notice about this film is that there is a whole lot of talking and yet no one is saying anything interesting.

Idiotically, the doctor steals the detective's car while said detective tried to take a piss on the side of the road. Really? It's okay though, the doctor finds grandma's house and Ricky kills him almost immediately. Ricky manages to kill the brother and his girlfriend, and, for some reason, Laura doesn't care too much. However, Laura is bothered when she touches Ricky's bowl of jello and screams like a baby. Grandma's force ghost appears and tells Laura to use the force which translates into holding out a piece of wood for Ricky to idiotically fall onto. That detective manages to show up, god knows how, and they clean up this mess. Once more, Laura seems overjoyed that everyone is dead as Ricky's force ghost wishes us all a happy New Year. That's a powerful ending.

I know it sounds like I'm exaggerating the stupidity of this film, but, I assure you, I'm realistically downplaying the overall idiocy. The gore is few and far between, there are long and boring scenes of dialogue, the characters are unlikable and annoying, and this doesn't feel like a Christmas movie at all. In fairness, the film's title did warn us to watch out for this shit. Supposedly this was put together in four months, and that makes perfect sense. Now I have the creeping suspicion parts 4 and 5 will be even worse.

Notable Moment: Oh there are too many moments. I guess the absolute worst is when Laura is talking to the ghost of the grandma, and it's essentially a conversation between Luke and Obi-wan about the force.

Final Rating: 3/10

Friday, December 5, 2014

Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2 Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Years after Billy went on a Christmas killing spree, his brother, Ricky, tries to pick up where he left off.

Review: GARBAGE DAY! Yes, this is that movie. If you're thinking, "what the hell is this guy talking about now," just type those two words into youtube and behold. Anyway, this film is painful but in the best of ways. And don't even try and say this was a comedy horror. No it wasn't. In fact, this film's attempt to be taken seriously is precisely what made it so damn funny. Every single line spoken by the Ricky character is pure gold with over the top delivery. However, setting aside all of the unintentionally humorous moments, they pulled a "Ju-on: The Curse 2" on us. About half of this film is nothing more than a recap of the events from SN,DN part one. Apparently the production of this film was plagued with all manner of financial issues. Nevertheless, it's the major detractor from what could have been a "Troll 2-esque" experience.

Well, you know this movie is off to a perfect start when they can't even get Billy-boy's age correct from the last film. It would seem Ricky has already been institutionalized for various murders that he's about to tell us about conveniently. But before we can get into that, we have to pad out the clock with 40 minutes of scenes Ricky clearly wasn't witness to--nor was any living person for that matter. In case you may be wondering, and because it's impossible to tell, it's actually supposed to be Christmas Eve. Because what criminal isn't pointlessly psychoanalyzed on Christmas Eve? After showing the best parts from the first film, and with plenty of cornball banter mixed in, we finally learn about Ricky's life. Unlike Billy-boy, Ricky appears to have a normal life yet becomes a killer anyway. Hold on...were they actually trying to be clever here and say that Billy was nurtured into a killer and Ricky was naturally a killer? Nah...that would be far, far too deep for this movie. Besides, GARBAGE DAY!

One day when Ricky was randomly roaming around being emo, he just happened to come across a chick about to get raped similarly to that beloved milf molestation of part one. Yeaaah, okay. And you were a baby, dude, and inside the damn car and wouldn't have seen jackshit. Ricky decides to kill the guy with his own car made possible through apparent teleportation. Unlike that ungrateful bitch from part one, this chick is thankful for Ricky's services. 'Kaaaay...it's still not Christmas. Later on, Ricky kills another guy who was, I guess, an enforcer for criminals. This time around Ricky thinks he's the fucking Penguin and uses an umbrella. We suddenly switch tone as Ricky meets a decently hot chick, named Jennifer, who is used goods it would seem. They clearly didn't have this little romance thought out very well. After de-virginizing our dear Ricky, he's instantly in love until they go to the movie theater one day. Ignoring the fact that the seats look as though they were designed for children, and that the lights are on, and that there was an annoying loudmouth to distract Ricky, AND the unbelievably surreal notion that the movie being played is, in fact, "Silent Night, Deadly Night," what are the odds that Jennifer's ex-boyfriend would materialize out of thin air at this exact movie and spot her in the crowd?! All I know is that I'm glad he was introduced in that roundabout way so I will know who he is in the next scene...making this ridiculous scene completely irrelevant.

Before you can even say, still a better love story than "Twilight," Ricky and Jennifer are walking along when they come across that ex-boyfriend again. Of course he starts talking smack and Ricky kills him thankfully. Jennifer doesn't take too kindly to this which leads to Ricky putting her down as well. Another person materializes out of thin air--a cop this time--who is killed due to sheer idiocy. This is when it occurs to Ricky that it's GARBAGE DAY, and he must shoot as many people as possible while laughing in the cheesiest way possible. When he is corned by police, he attempts to shoot himself but the bullets are out. And that's the greatest story ever told...or something along those lines. Suddenly realizing it's Christmas Eve, Ricky escapes the mental institute, or wherever, and decides he has to kill that nun from the first film. Magically stealing a Santa suit, and pulling the nun's address and phone number out of his ass, Ricky goes to find the old bitch who gives the killer way too much trouble considering she's in a wheelchair. When the police catch up to Ricky, he has already beheaded the nun, and the cops shoot Ricky. The film ends with Ricky still alive as you'd probably guess.

Wow, for a film about a killer Santa this had maybe two minutes of that action. What can I say...the story is a mess and half of it is filler to boot. The film fails in almost every technical aspect while having laughably bad acting. There is almost no positive thing I could say this film did...except that it is hilarious. Sure, it's not as fall over funny as the likes of "The Room," but SN,DN2 is especially pathetic. You kind of have to see the stupidity for yourself to fully appreciate it, but, at the same time, I obviously can't recommend this kind of trash--and trash gets taken out on (puts on sunglasses) garbage day! WAAAAAAAAAH!

Notable Moment: I would be doing a great disservice to this film's legacy if I put any other scene than GARBAGE DAY (tired of that joke yet?). Although, it should be noted that this film is loaded with outlandish moments.

Final Rating: 4/10

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Silent Night, Deadly Night Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After many traumatic Christmas experiences, including the murder of his parents, a man goes on a killing spree dressed as Santa.

Review: You may recall I reviewed the remake/reboot, "Silent Night," a couple years ago, but here is the original in all it's jolly glory. I'll do an updated review for the remake too, but we're going to take a look at the whole franchise first. I actually never saw parts 2-5, so this will be new to me, but my expectations are about as low as I could feasibly make them; I'm well aware of the reputation these sequels have. As many may be aware, part one was controversial for it's killer Santa concept despite it not being the first film to implement such an idea. For whatever reason, a lot of people boycotted the film and eventually had it removed from theaters. Watching it again, I don't see anything really controversial. Then again...I did watch this movie as a child in the '80s, and I wasn't bothered back then either. Hmm...

I think it's safe to say this film leans on the nurture side of the nature vs. nurture debate considering everything the main character goes through. The film opens with a young boy named Billy visiting his crazy grandfather on Christmas Eve. Uhh, okay. Where does this movie take place again? Oh right, Oblivion, Utah. The weirdo grandfather appears to be catatonic, but, when the parents leave Billy alone, the grandfather tries to scare Billy with the notion that Santa will punish him. That's okay, I'm confident the rest of this night will be uneventful. Oh shit, nope, a guy dressed as Santa ends up murdering Billy's parents and semi-molesting that milfy mom before she dies. For whatever reason, they never address what became of this killer Santa as they cut to Billy and his brother being raised in an orphanage. Even though they know how traumatized Billy was from seeing the murders, the main nun that runs the place tries to force Billy to confront his fears of Santa and Christmas. Shockingly, this has the opposite reaction. Things are made worse when Billy comes across two people fucking that end up being beaten for the act. Billy is also beaten later and tied up. Sounds legit.

As an adult, Billy is conveniently set up with a job at a toy store. Okay, really, are these nuns trying to make this guy snap on purpose? At least there are some pretty cool toys in the background like "Star Wars," "G.I. Joe," and "Masters of the Universe." Umm, can I work here too? After one of the corniest '80s montages ever, Billy-boy starts to act crazier as Christmas approaches. Things are made worse when the store owner makes Billy dress up as Santa. Keep in mind, this asshole appears to know about the murder of Billy's parents. During a Christmas party, the girl Billy-boy likes decides she wants to hook up with the unnecessarily added douche. Conveniently, this douche reenacts that milf molestation from earlier, and Billy flies off the handle. Killing the douche, Billy-boy's crush is not impressed so Billy has to put her down as well. You do not toy with the emotions of Santa, hun. This leads Billy-boy to the conclusion he must turn into a killer Santa and punish all the naughty people. Might as well, right?

The way Billy picks his victims was a bit questionable, but he makes sure to always throw in a line about them being naughty. He even kills Linnea Quigley for going topless. Come to think of it, every chick that dies in this movie dies topless! I do want to mention a guy dies from being thrown through a window. Finally, a film understands what really happens when you go flying through glass! The idiotic cops then realize Billy-boy's rampage will end at the orphanage somehow. Sure enough, Billy shows up to kill the main nun, but he is shot to death before he can ax her a question (see what I did there). The film then ends with Billy-boy's brother, Ricky, seemingly turning evil.

In the end, I don't get what all the fuss was about. I liked the ambient music with the heavy synthesizers; although, I had never heard of the bullshit Christmas songs they appeared to invent for this movie. Making the film from the killer's perspective, while simultaneously making him sympathetic, was a unique spin for the time. The ladies aren't too bad for the era, but, admittedly, they could have used some Ellen Wong action. The kills are also pretty good, but, keep in mind, there are multiple edits of this film floating around. There may be a lot of cornball moments to this film, but it's a surprisingly decent slasher. Parts 2-5, here we come!

Notable Moment: When those dumb bullies get killed sledding. This is easily one of the most outlandish scenarios I could possibly imagine. Not only do two random kids decide to go sledding Christmas Eve night for no apparent reason, but, the exact spot they do this, two bullies just happen to show up with the same idea?! Right. AND Billy stumbles upon them as well? Come the fuck on, man. The characters even make note of how implausible this is!

Final Rating: 6/10

Sunday, November 30, 2014

The Babadook Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After reading a mysterious children's book, a mother and her son are tormented by the Babadook!

Review: I waited so long to give this film a glance,
               hoping it would live up to the hype perchance.
               When I finally gave the film a thorough look,
               I found only disappointment from the Babadook!
                                                                           -famous poet

Okay, in fairness, this was actually a pretty damn good film, but it went in the direction I feared most. BIG SPOILER--there is no Babadook, and it's all in the mom's head. Arrrggghhhh! Fuck. The moment I saw the trailer I suspected as much, but it seemed too obvious. I figured that must be the red herring; instead the Babadook himself is the red herring. Maybe my expectations were too high since this was the movie I was most looking forward to all year. Oh well. Let's take a look at what they did right and where things went wrong (for me).

The story is most certainly original even if aspects do feel cliched. The idea of the boogeyman coming to life is not new, but the notion of the Babadook, specifically, was clever and refreshing. In fact, the little tale of the Babadook is, perhaps, the best part to the film as a whole. I liked the design of the Babadook as well; he's a mixture of the mythological "man in black" and a whimsical fantasy you'd imagine from a child. He can be scary naturally, but I think his voice was the creepiest part to him. Enhancing the scares are the foreboding nature to the scenes along with the ever increasing tension. You could tell the director was a fan of classic horror films and paid tribute to their style; the respect to conventional effects was also greatly appreciated. The mystery regarding the Babadook book, what it wants, how to stop it, etc. keep the audience invested in the situation and engaged; the steady pacing helps in this regard too. The main characters, Amelia and Samuel, are well acted as the story is almost exclusively centered around their relationship as mother and son. I was actually moved a few times by their relationship especially at the end. Plus, Samuel trying to fight the Babadook with "Home Alone" inspired tactics was amusing in the best of ways.

On the other hand, the film commits a lot of blunders. Firstly, we see the Babadook in all his glory far, far too early in the film. This aspect takes away from a lot of the scares that could have been awesome toward the middle and end of the film. While the acting is fine from Samuel, his character can be excessively annoying. I get that they wanted to portray Amelia's perspective of this annoyance, but, really, come on, man. At times this kid was rivaling Jar Jar, and I've never heard of a kid that annoying. I know you don't need kills to make a horror film, but, seriously, only the dog dies? The ending is a huge letdown in general, but, beyond the twist, I'm talking about the very notion of looking under the Babadook's coat. What, he was nothing but Pennywise's deadlights under there?!

Of course, the biggest problem, as I've already stated, is that the Babadook is in Amelia's head. Besides being cornball as fuck, it's predictable as hell. If you couldn't figure out Amelia wrote the Babadook book herself (both times) you are either blind or need to watch a movie without a crowd. I mean, they mention she was a writer of children's books, her hand is stained with the paint, and how else could it have ended up in Samuel's book collection? I understand that there is a debate regarding the realness of the Babadook, but the creature is an embodiment of Amelia's depression after her husband died--plain and simple. We even see that the clothes of the Babadook are the same shown hanging in the basement where all the father's personal items are kept. If you pay careful attention to the Babadook book, it subtly addresses what will happen if you let the depression get to you; we can imagine Amelia thinking these exact thoughts whenever she originally wrote the Babadook. The movie isn't clear regarding when she did this, or why she would forget, but all the possession shit is imagined. Samuel only sees the delusions, because he's already scared of monsters and is probably neglected. In essence, this is a straight up psychological horror that hides behind a creature feature. I wouldn't have been so bothered by this revelation if I didn't see it coming a mile away; therefore, I can acknowledge others enjoying this revelation more than I. As it stands, this was my biggest disappointment toward the film. Also, you know this is a lame plot twist when half the reviews are pretentious as fuck with the whole "you don't get it" line. Right.

Bottom line...the film succeeds in virtually all technical aspects. The story is imaginative, compelling, and presented interestingly. I would go as far as to say the film probably deserved an 8/10 had it followed through with a different ending. However, the ending is predictable and disappointing to the degree that it negates a lot of the other positives. Establishing an awesome setup only to pull out the rug from under the audience is hard to accept; it feels cheap that everything we've seen was simply imagined. I'm pleased with the final product, but I can't let go of the potential I believed it had. If one understands many of these facets ahead of time, I think there will be less polarizing reactions to the movie. "The Babadook" is a cool film hindered by an ending that will either make or break it for the viewer so keep that in mind when attempting a view.

Notable Moment: When Amelia and Samuel first read the Babadook book. I was probably more scared by that book than the film itself since it's a genuinely creepy concept.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Batman: Gotham Knight Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: An anthology of tales covering early adventures of the Caped Crusader's endless fight against the criminal underbelly of Gotham.

Review: As I've stated numerous times, I'm a big fan of Batman, and an anthology tale is a perfect way to present his kind of adventures. It's made better by the fact that there is a, somewhat, ongoing continuity from tale to tale. They also have Kevin Conroy voicing Batman, and that's usually the highlight in my mind. With that said, this wasn't as good as it could have been. I didn't like the changing art styles, and the stories felt like they were trying too hard to complement the Nolan films rather than standing on their own merit. This isn't to say the film is bad--because it's not--it simply lacked a certain flair to make it memorable. The segments are too generic with, maybe, only one or two stories exemplifying the deeper struggles of the character. It would seem few sources can do Batman justice the way the animated series was able to.

Have I Got a Story for You: This was a decent way to start things off, but the animation in this segment is the absolute worst. Why does everyone look so fat...including Batman? Anyway, a bunch of kids are telling each other their interpretation of crossing paths with Batman. We can assume their stories all occurred in succession of one another as Batman is fighting the same assassin across Gotham. Coincidentally enough, the same fight that the kids have witnessed across town concludes before their very eyes. The amusing aspect to this segment is that the one kid that had no tale regarding Batman manages to help Batman defeat the assassin. Eh, this wasn't too bad, and it had it's moments.

Crossfire: This is probably the weakest of the stories since you know what's going to happen almost immediately. Two detectives, working under Gordon, are transporting a criminal to Arkham as one of them remarks how they are simply cleaning up after Batman. Amidst their arguing, the two detectives become caught up in a literal crossfire between two crime families. Of course Batman comes to the rescue and changes the opinion of the one detective. I wouldn't mind such a scenario typically, but this whole doubting Batman and changing your tune routine has been done many, many times before.

Field Test: This was one of the better entries as we see Bruce exploring multiple options in his attempt to be a better crime fighter. Consulting with Fox, Bruce fits the Batman suit with some kind of electromagnetic field generator that can reflect bullets. Later on, when Batman tests out the device, fighting the same crime families from the last segment, he notices an unexpected side effect; one of the bullets ricochets from Batman and hits one of the criminals. Batman does save the guy, but Bruce returns the device to Fox. Bruce says he's willing to risk his own life fighting crime but doesn't want to endanger others. Oddly enough, this was the first tale to actually have Batman/Bruce as the focus. I liked that we saw Bruce exhausting all the assets at his disposal in order to make Batman more effective.

In Darkness Dwells: This was probably a missed opportunity compared to the other segments since you had a few classic villains to work with. Once more we have the Scarecrow using his fear toxin for nefarious purposes; he has captured a Cardinal for whatever reason I'm not sure. Helping Scarecrow either directly or indirectly (again, I'm not sure), Killer Croc assists in the fight against Batman and infects Batman with the fear toxin. However, Killer Croc is defeated way too easily, and Scarecrow hardly does anything before being defeated as well. The ending was interesting with an injured Batman probably in need of help, but they let that be its own separate entry; this aspect only emphasized the wasted potential of this segment.

Working Through Pain: Batman, wounded from his encounters in the last segment, flashes back to his time studying a kind of mysticism in India. While trying to become strong enough to fight crime, Bruce came across a woman, named Cassandra, who was willing to teach him mental strategies to control one's physical pain. Over months, Bruce mastered the techniques and became virtually unaffected by the standard pain thresholds of a regular person. One night, villagers come to mess with Cassandra who takes a nonviolent approach and demonstrates her mastery of this art. Bruce, unable to sit idly by, intervenes and dispenses with the villagers. Cassandra then asks Bruce to leave since she realizes he only wanted her techniques for his own purposes rather than to better oneself. As Bruce leaves, she remarks that she would not be able to help him with his internal pain. Cutting back to the present, the segment ends as we see Batman angered by a heap of guns that we can assume remind him of his parents' death. It's always a treat when we discover all the training Bruce went through to become Batman. In many ways, it shows how Bruce was not entirely honest in his approach while also delving into the anger and sadness Batman keeps bottled up.

Deadshot: To close things out, we have a decent story and another classic villain in the form of, you guessed it, Deadshot. This segment begins with Bruce remembering the deaths of his parents, and that feeling of powerlessness that drives him. Despite his apprehension to use firearms, Bruce discusses his understanding of the appeal with Alfred. We then cut to Deadshot performing an assassination in his typical, over the top, manner. Deadshot is then, seemingly, hired to assassinate Gordon in another roundabout manner. Batman intervenes but Deadshot reveals his actual target was Batman himself. The two fight atop a train with Deadshot appearing to gain the upper hand. Disappointingly, Deadshot is dispatched with as easily as Killer Croc and Scarecrow were. Later on, Bruce is discussing with Alfred how he wishes he could have saved his parents, but this is cut short by Bruce noticing the Bat-Signal. Not too bad of an ending, but this entire film needed the kind of epic music the animated series always implemented to enhance the drama.

Overall, this was a cool idea hindered by mostly lackluster stories. I enjoy the idea of side stories, but they could have been more meaningful in the way "Working Through Pain" was able to present. Because of the Nolan connection, it appeared as though they didn't want to take any chances as whatever they did would be retconned if needed. I don't mind leaving out the rogues gallery of villains, but it could have turned an otherwise mundane tale into something memorable. If you can't get enough Batman, I'd say check this bad boy out, but keep in mind there are more interesting and compelling adventures out there.

Notable Moment: In the fifth segment when we see that Batman can overcome physical pain easily, but he's consumed by his internal pain. It's this conflict that usually provides for a more compelling Batman; unfortunately, a lot of the Batman media out there forgets this.

Final Rating: 6/10

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Extraterrestrial (2014) Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Drunk off his ass, ET crashes his ship after Elliot dumps him and decides to go on a killing spree.

Review: I think this movie just anally probed my brain. How in hell was this made by the same guys who did "Grave Encounters?!" My god...this film was torturous to the very core of my being. The flow of events are exactly how you imagine a little kid trying to tell a story. "...and then this happens, and then this happens, oh and this happens, oh and then these people do this, OH and then this happens..." Aaaagggghhhh! The fuck, man...really? There's a phenomenon in terrible movies I've rarely covered so far, and it's present here once more. That phenomenon being the snowball effect--whereby each scene manages to be even more idiotic than the previous one in an exponential path to oblivion. Essentially, you start off with an eye roll, this turns into a nervous laugh, you quickly follow up with a "come the fuck on," only to stew in your own silent sulking, which leads to bitter anger, and, finally, acceptance that you are watching a shamefully horrendous film. Enjoy.

Was this meant to be satire or something? Like...were they tripping on LSD after watching "Fire in the Sky" and "Cabin in the Woods" on the same night? The film begins by showing some random girl get abducted which makes you think this movie could be cool. How wrong you would be. We are then introduced to the annoying as fuck main characters that drive a man homicidal. Although one dude looks like a hardcore, hipster douche, they all look like shit and the main girl has permanent grandma-face. I think it goes without saying that there are contrivances and cliches at every turn. After a failed marriage proposal (aka dodging a bullet), the group of flunkies notice an alien ship crash and decide to investigate. ET decides to walk this crash off, because he's a badass with that glowing finger. When trying to phone home, ET is shot by the flunkies inconsiderately. Spielberg somehow gets wind of this shit and sends in backup to help ET. One of the dumber flunkies decides she wants Scotty to beam her up and takes it like a champ. The flunkies seek help from Michael Ironside who is just trying to grow pot in the woods; why do I get the sneaking suspicion they merely stumbled upon him while filming? He thankfully knows exactly what's going on--the world governments have a peace treaty with the aliens and the flunkies just broke it! Oh noes, say it ain't so? Really? That's what we're going with? A fucking peace treaty?! It doesn't matter, because ET shows up and says, "see you at the party, Richter," and that's the end of Mr. Ironside.

While all this has been going on, we have been getting the drama of the town sheriff who thinks his wife was abducted by aliens. Honestly, the movie gives me the impression that the aliens are simply barbequing aboard the ships--what with the slabs of bacon they remove from piggies and the beef from cows. Anyway, the sheriff finds the flunkies and arrests them for being idiots. ET shows up and uses his newly discovered psychic powers to stop a car and make the sheriff kill his partner and then blow his own head off. Well, I'm glad we spent so much time building that character up. The aliens tire of these games and decide to shake the cabin with a glowing light, because that's cool, right? Hipster gets abducted and loses an arm for thinking he's clever. Proposal Reject decides he wants to take a shower with an alien, but he ends up admiring himself in the mirror too much so ET abducts him. Another dumbass commits suicide while Grandma is left alone by the aliens, because they've had enough with the geriatric community. Pissed that she didn't get in on the anal probe action, Grandma starts shooting fireworks at the aliens who say, "fine, welcome aboard, bitch!" The interior of ET's ship is a straight ripoff of "Fire in the Sky" except they threw in a little bit of "The Matrix" to spice it up. If that weren't enough, they decided to add that bellybutton robot from "The Matrix" as well. Hipster gets anally probed--not even joking--because that's just what ET does for kicks. Grandma manages to track down Proposal Reject and she says she would marry him now that she learned there is life out there in the universe. Huh...you know, that may be one of the absolute dumbest things I've ever heard. ET is so moved by this confession of love, and remembering his times with Elliot, he decides to return the two lovebirds back to earth. Unfortunately, the US military doesn't care much for romance and shoots the lovebirds. A wannabe cancer man from "The X-Files" says burn the bodies and that's the end. Aww, what a heartwarming conclusion to such a riveting tale.

Fuck this movie. It's nothing more than a series of increasingly stupid scenes strung together with the flimsiest of plots imaginable. The characters are painfully moronic, the music choices boggle the mind, and you get every cliche, trope, and contrivance conceivable from an alien-themed movie. The only reason I didn't lower the rating further was due to the surprisingly good production value; truth be told, the cinematography was not bad at all. If you've ever wondered what the trauma of being abducted could possibly feel like, then sit back, get out the popcorn, and force yourself through this mess.

Notable Moment: This is tough because the stupidity is strong with this one. I guess I might as well go with the dumb anal probe scene since that's all anyone takes away from this piece of shit.

Final Rating: 3/10

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Edge of Tomorrow Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: As humanity fights an alien invasion, a soldier discovers he can relive the same day over and over and hopes to change the outcome of the war.

Review: Well, Tommy-boy does it again, and, seriously, does this guy ever age?! Once more, I didn't read the book this film is based upon, but I've read over the differences; I should add "didn't read the book" to the disclaimer at this point due to how often I mention that. As others have stated numerous times, it is safe to say this film is essentially "Groundhog Day" meets "Oblivion," but people act as though that's a bad thing to be compared to; and come on, the main girl's name is Rita too--hard to ignore that shit! Besides, this film works the material in a different way to create a unique experience complementary to "Groundhog Day." Plus this made me really like Emily Blunt, and that's an accomplishment unto itself.

The story is mostly straightforward--mysterious aliens are invading earth and humans must defeat them. We meet Cage who is an officer in the US military, but his main purpose is public affairs whereby he tries to motivate others to join the war effort. When Cage is told he will be out in the battlefield for the main offensive against the aliens, he tries to weasel out of the situation. This leads to Cage being dropped, headfirst, in with the grunts who don't believe he's an actual officer. We clearly see Cage stands no chance, since he still doesn't know how to use his mech-suit (the main weapon humans use), even as he goes into battle. During the fight, everyone is obliterated including Rita, the ace fighter for the humans, but Cage manages to kill a weird looking alien before he too is killed. Due to this chance encounter, Cage has gained the main defensive ability of the aliens: the ability to rewind the day in order to adjust the outcome. It would appear this, time and space defying, ability is what makes the aliens seemingly unbeatable. In order to retain the power, Cage must die each day, but each time Cage dies, the aliens come closer to reclaiming their ability.

As Cage relives the day numerous times, he starts to memorize various aspects in order to survive and change things up. On one particular day, Cage saves Rita and she understands what is happening to him since it also happened to her. When Cage relives the day again, he meets with Rita and the two begin to train in the hope to make Cage strong enough to defeat the aliens as he's their only real hope. Over time, Cage does become an expert fighter just as Rita must have done when she had the power. With the help of a scientist, Cage and Rita try to kill the heart, if you will, of the aliens--the only way to truly overcome the aliens. After much shenanigans to kill this Omega, as they call it, Cage ends up losing the power which leaves them with one final chance to defeat the aliens. Since this is Hollywood, it should come as no shock that they do indeed defeat the aliens. Although all the main characters did die during the final struggle, they end up revived when Cage is able to reset the day one more time despite the aliens' defeat.

I was genuinely impressed by how much simply worked within this film. The story has a nice cohesion, pace, and sense of progression that keeps you engaged. "Groundhog Day" is an incredible film, and adding a new spin on that concept is welcomed in my book...as long as it's done right. The quirky characters provide an added layer of depth that makes it fun to see them in action. I know some were annoyed that there was a slight romance between Cage and Rita, but I was thoroughly engrossed with the two of them; and it wasn't anywhere near as dramatic as they could have made it. Tommy-boy and Ms. Blunt had great chemistry, and I wanted to see them get together! While on the topic, the acting was great and felt believable from all the players. The concept behind the aliens was interesting as well since they weren't really fighting the humans as much as they were simply killing them for getting in the way. The book goes into more detail regarding the aliens' motivation, but the movie did imply that this probably happened to other worlds in the universe. Speaking of which, the book had a far different and somber ending, but I do so love my Hollywood endings despite this; I can't get enough of the Cage and Rita dynamics! Lastly, the action is solid with the sci-fi version of WWII approach.

While there may be a lot to love here, I do have a few grievances that hold the film back. As much as I love Tommy-boy, they could have kept the lead as Japanese since plenty of the other characters in the book weren't Japanese anyway. In other words, I can understand making everyone in "The Ring" American since the original characters were all Japanese, but in a book full of varying ethnicity, this was unnecessary. The whole altering time thing is questionable for me since it relies on a few key aliens, and it would make no sense to send them into battle if their death could screw up the whole scheme. Connected to this is the ending not making full sense. I thought the day would reset and Cage and crew would fight the aliens one more time knowing what to do, but, instead all the humans are revived but not the aliens? Yeah, okay. And finally, Cage's durability in the attack on the Omega is a bit outlandish considering the film's prior sense of realism. This wouldn't have stood out so badly if it weren't for the film specifically showing us Cage easily breaking bones and such.

Overall, this was a great film that became overshadowed by its similarity to "Oblivion" when first released. Hopefully viewers can discover this gem, because it was better than most of the shit released this past summer. There are a few flaws that stop the filming from being completely amazing, but they are subjective complaints. The general experience of the film is fantastic with all the right elements coming together to provide a compelling story. Tommy-boy is at his finest, and those who enjoy his brand of action will undoubtedly be entertained. Definitely check this one out!

Notable Moment: When Nance and Cage say the same line of dialogue at the same time, and Nance says "jinx." So cornball but it got a laugh out of me.

Final Rating: 7.5/10

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Killer Toon Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: An artist becomes implicated in a series of murders as her illustrations appear to be coming to life.

Review: The movies this month have been rough around the edges, to say the least, and, sadly, this film is no different. No wonder I've taken November off for the past 2 years! "Killer Toon" is easily a contender for most genre-confused film I've watched in recent years. They don't know whether to make this an emotional drama, supernatural horror, murder-mystery, thriller, or some abomination thereof. It's not that the ideas can't work in conjunction to one another, but the execution is a complete and utter mess. This isn't helped by the heap of cliches accompanied by a terrible and unbelievable ending. It's disappointing, again, because the film started off strong with an intriguing story but gradually fell apart.

The story begins with the main character, Ji-yoon, a popular artist, finishing up a new manuscript for her comic book series. When Ji-yoon's editor, or whatever she was, gets the drawings, the editor realizes they tell her own story; as a teen, the editor stood by while her mom committed suicide, and the mother was motivated to suicide by her as well. Beyond that revelation, the drawings also depict the present actions of the editor as she appears to be stabbed to death by the ghost of her mother. As the police investigate the incident, they rightfully suspect Ji-yoon to be involved, but it would appear all the forensic evidence points to the editor killing herself rather than murder.

You will notice many odd additions to the story that serve little purpose like Ji-yoon seeing a doctor claiming she can't understand why she has weird visions; the pointlessness of this will be demonstrated by the end as Ji-yoon knows perfectly well why she is the way she is. Along with these throwaway scenes, the film keeps hinting at the inclusion of ghosts but is unsure whether to add them into the plot or not; this kind of hesitation is how you lose the interest of the audience. They also pull the infamous dream within a dream shtick. Anyway, another person is going to be murdered as depicted in the drawings, but Ji-yoon tries to intervene and becomes implicated as a result. So, while the first half hour was going in the direction of a living killer, we then shift into a full-blown supernatural element. Those who harbor horrible secrets are being killed by the ghosts of the people they've wronged.

Well, what does any of this have to do with Ji-yoon's drawings? It would appear Ji-yoon is a fraud, and she was receiving the drawings by email from her old physical address. This is definitely the point in which the film loses itself completely. They try to create an association between Ji-yoon and the victims, but it doesn't quite add up. Furthermore, Ji-yoon believes she knows who was sending the emails: a girl named Seo-hyun. It would appear Seo-hyun had an uncontrollable urge to draw visions of death, and Ji-yoon used them as a means to establish herself as a famous artist. For some reason the cops keep dicking around, but we suddenly learn one of the cops was depicted in the drawings as he once ran over a little girl and left her to die. This cop appears to be killed by the ghost as the police, in general, want to drop the case due to all this talk about ghosts.

I have no idea how to properly explain the final act as it's forced drama like no one's business. The main cop, that can't let the case go, realizes that all of Ji-yoon's drawings have connected to a murder and that this isn't something new that just started with the editor. This then magically leads to Ji-yoon hanging out at that address where she was getting the emails. We then learn how Seo-hyun was actually murdered by Ji-yoon, because she tried to burn all the drawings. It would appear Seo-hyun really was talking to the dead, and they were telling her their stories which she drew. Somehow, this psychic power was passed to Ji-yoon when she strangled Seo-hyun to death. The cop shows up and tries to stop Ji-yoon, but she tries to kill him with an axe. Before the cop can shoot Ji-yoon we learn that this cop actually killed the other cop and it wasn't ghosts. Ugh. Because that was a necessary twist. The ghost of that particular cop magically intervenes to save Ji-yoon. The film ends with the idea that Ji-yoon will continue with her comics and apparently the ghosts will keep on killing. Riiight. And the cops will just ignore this I guess.

As you can tell, there are a lot of holes in the story. It was idiotic to make Ji-yoon appear to be baffled and confused by the incidents of the film when she was clearly the villain with full knowledge. The twist with the cop killing his partner was contrived as fuck. How exactly did no one find Seo-hyun's body since everyone thought she was alive somewhere? Speaking of which, wouldn't it have been a more fitting conclusion, and fit the themes better, if Seo-hyun's ghost killed Ji-yoon? And who the hell was sending the emails?! Why were the ghosts seeking revenge all of a sudden? What, they didn't want to act until the crimes they were about to commit were drawn?! I mean, hell, the editor's mom died like 10-20 years prior. Ghosts certainly love biding their goddamn time it would seem.

What started off as a straightforward film somehow devolved into an incoherent wreck. The entire presentation of the film's events become contradicted as the film progresses as we realize the characters shouldn't have done the actions they perform; all the while, the genre keeps bouncing all over the place. I feel like something was lost in the editing process or we missed a few necessary scenes to pull the story together. The final twists of the film felt tacked on and more for shock value than to add any kind of satisfaction to the viewer. Despite these horrendous problems with the story, the technical aspects are commendable. The actors perform well enough with the material they were given also. Finally, I can't ignore that there were good ideas under the mess. Like the last couple of films I've been reviewing, this one is on the mediocre side--interesting ideas brought down by shit direction. I suppose this film could possibly garner a viewing, but you have to seriously go with the flow and not pay close attention to the nonsensical plot points.

Notable Moment: When we meet the hitchhiker ghost. I mean, yes, it's such a timeless cliche, but I still find it amusing nonetheless.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

Monday, November 17, 2014

Jessabelle Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: Recovering from a car accident, a girl discovers tapes from her deceased mother that reveal a horrible truth.

Review: This film started off excellently, with respectable scares, but it plummets downhill all too quickly. Exacerbating the situation is the overabundance of contrivances that feel like plot holes due the sheer implausibility of such a set of circumstances coming into existence. Once more, I'm disappointed, because the potential to tell an interesting tale was right there. However, between the laughable ending, pointless love story, and glaring story problems, it's hard to see this film as anything beyond a simple meh.

Instead of telling the story as it's presented, I will explain the events in chronological order to demonstrate the absurd nature of the contrivances. Once upon a time...a married couple in the '80s were expecting a baby girl they planned to name Jessabelle. Conveniently enough, the mom is diagnosed with cancer along the way or something. The mother decides to leave a series of tapes for Jessabelle so that she can see what her crazy mother was like. For some reason, the mom tries to tell the unborn Jessabelle's future using tarot cards, and, of course, this reveals that Jessabelle will meet a terrible end; surely, because tarot cards are infamous for their accuracy. The mom mentions, on the tapes, a vague reference to some voodoo priest named Moses who apparently taught her how to read tarot cards; this made little sense to me since Moses also went to the church of Jessabelle's parents. Voodoo...Christianity...a bit of a stretch that one guy would be active in both. At some point, Jessabelle is born, and is revealed to be half-black as the father was actually Moses. Surprise, the husband is angry. I'm not entirely sure the exact order of these events, but the husband kills Jessabelle in a fit of rage, shoots and burns Moses, and magically adopts the main character, Jessie, who is told she is the real Jessabelle later. These events coincide with the mother committing suicide after seemingly doing a ritual with Jessie and Moses' voodoo flunkies doing another ritual on Jessabelle that links the two girls' souls.

Shortly after this, Jessie is sent to live with her aunt, whom we never meet, and just happens to live in the same town. Jessie grows up believing herself to be Jessabelle, rarely speaks with her "father," and no supernatural shit happens as far as we know. In her teens, Jessie dates some dude, named Preston, that will become annoyingly important later on, until she moves out of the town for college. At some point, Jessie, in her twenties, conveniently gets into a car accident with her new boyfriend that kills him and leaves her unable to walk. This forces Jessie to move back to the town and live with her estranged "father" as she finds herself haunted by Jessabelle...for no apparent reason. Furthermore, Jessie finds those dumb tapes and believes they are meant for her, but doesn't realize they're for the real Jessabelle. Jessie reunites with Preston as he's all too eager to leave his wife, Alex Mack, in order to get back with Jessie. Jessie and Preston unravel the mystery until the ghosts of the mom and Moses appear out of thin air so they can swap Jessie's soul for Jessabelle. The film then ends with Jessabelle now alive, Jessie off in Kayako-land or wherever, and Jessabelle probably eager to screw Preston. The final line of the film is delivered so poorly I burst out laughing.

At no point is it ever explained why Jessabelle decides to haunt Jessie at this particular moment. I mean, were these ghosts just sitting around waiting for this ridiculous series of events to occur? Wait, let me guess, they could see the future with the tarot cards, huh? Oh, and why did the ghosts wait all these years to kill the dad? Talk about biding your time. Don't even tell me the movie claims watching the tapes is what awakened the ghosts?! I liked how the boyfriend was completely forgotten about and Preston ditches his wife so casually. Actually, the film's morality bothered me since Jessie gets screwed the most for doing nothing wrong. I don't mind the villains winning, but they need to be likable and a cheating mom, some dude named Moses, and a wannabe Kayako aren't exactly wooing me. Although, I should mention, the real Jessabelle, played by Amber Stevens, is pretty cute under the makeup effects. And how the fuck do you manage to adopt a kid shortly after giving birth? Nobody questions this? Nobody wonders, "hey, what happened to your other kid?" Come on, man...this is supposed to be a town in the boonies. These events are glossed over far too easily and the gravity of the crimes downplayed too much! Finally, is the name Jessabelle supposed to be a, not so subtle, play on Jezebel? Uuughhh.

Overall, this film dropped the ball. The first half hour has great atmosphere and establishes an engaging mystery, but that goes out the window fast. One of the biggest mistakes was showing the real Jessabelle's face too soon when her makeup effects are nothing to write home about; that's a big no-no in a film relying on its ghost to be the main source of scares. There is also way too much time spent on the drama with Jessie and Preston. Unfortunately, I could not get over the contrived nature of the plot and how there appears to be no discernible reason for anything to happen at this specific moment when these events should have happened long ago. On top of that, the fact that Jessie wasn't the real Jessabelle was beyond predictable even if you couldn't, necessarily, guess what direction they were taking the story. I'm going to say give this one a pass, but I'll stress that it's more on the disappointing side than actually a bad movie.

Notable Moment: When the ghost appears in the wheelchair, behind the curtain, for the first time. This slow buildup of the scares was a missed opportunity for sure.

Final Rating: 5.5/10

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Witching and Bitching (aka Las Brujas de Zugarramurdi) Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After robbing a gold store, a group of thieves become the target of a coven of witches bent on taking over the world.

Review: As you can probably guess from the title, there's a whole lot of bitching and witching going on here. Okay, I'm not sure where that title came from exactly, but the original Spanish one is a bit more straightforward: The Witches of Zugarramurdi. I guess some marketing executive figured that title didn't have the kind of oomph befitting of a movie this ridiculous. As for what the hell is a Zugarramurdi...it's apparently a region near the Spanish/French border that was infamous during the Inquisition. Good times. Surprisingly, this was an amusing and genuinely entertaining flick that felt like some kind of heist/fairytale hybrid. I don't watch nearly enough European horror so this was a nice departure from my usual concentrations.

The story can be a bit convoluted, so I'll sum up the important aspects. Thieves, dressed in various costumes, steal a ton of gold from a jewelry store in Spain before fleeing toward France. En route, the thieves stop at Zugarramurdi where a coven of witches want the main thief's son for a ritual as they believe he's a foretold, chosen one. Antics ensue as the thieves try to escape the clutches of the witches all the while dealing with cops and the main thief's wife in hot pursuit. The witches eventually perform the ritual on the son to turn him into the an apparent destroyer of mankind, but this amounts to nothing. Thanks to the help of the sexiest witch, the thieves manage to save the day and live happily ever after...sort of.

Looking at what worked, you must understand the story is meant to be comedic before anything else, and it succeeds admirably in this regard. The dialogue is banter focused, sometimes about poignant issues, and shenanigans occur in a matter-of-fact presentation. The setups are often comical as the characters put themselves in outlandish situations; for example, the thieves get distracted by the sexy witch doing--how shall I say--questionable activities with her broom. Everything feels over the top, but things still work within the confines of this established universe. Although the horror plays second fiddle to the comedy, the tone of the film invokes the sense of a dark fairytale. It's hard to explain, but it feels like watching an R-rated, live-action Disney movie...if that makes any sense. However, it is important to note that the first half hour, or so, serves as an excellent heist film that, again, still manages to be funny. Connected to this were the action scenes, which were decent, but you must ignore the seeming indestructibility of each character. Speaking of which, the characters are as ridiculous as you'd expect but are engaging and likable for the most part; I thoroughly enjoyed the sexy witch, Eva, whom I keep mentioning, the best--played by Carolina Bang. Lastly, the story, while not entirely original, was creative enough to set itself apart from the numerous other witch-themed films that have been popping up in droves as of late.

As for where the film falters, I would say the biggest issue was the running time. With a shenanigan-laden film such as this, you will want to keep things short and sweet so as not to overstay the welcome, but scenes did begin to drag at various points; the film is nearly two hours long. Obviously, gags fall flat, as is to be expected, but that is emphasized due to the prolong time spent on the jokes. There were plot elements that made little sense even if I ignore the outlandish nature to everything. For example, we understand that witches are born yet later we see they can just as easily be created against their own will; this doesn't reconcile properly especially at a late stage of the story. More to the point, many things will not make sense and it depends on the threshold of the viewer to determine the varying degree to which this will hinder the enjoyment.

In the end, I would say check this one out if you're looking for an offbeat tale. The comedy and horror elements blended together well enough, and it's a fun film. It can feel out of place at times given the cornball style of humor mixed with mature themes, but this was not a serious detriment. The actors do a commendable job, and the crazy characters felt unique. I did expect more from the ending, but, keeping with the whimsical approach, the happily ever after conclusion did seem fitting. If you can overlook, or even enjoy, the prolonged running time, this should not disappoint fans of comedy-horror.

Notable Moment: There are nearly endless amounts of ridiculous moments, but I was oddly satisfied with the death of SpongeBob.

Final Rating: 6.5/10

Sunday, November 9, 2014

7500 Review


Disclaimer: Contains spoilers!

Plot Summary: After a man suddenly dies aboard a flight to Tokyo, strange occurrences begin to plague the passengers.

Review: I've been going through all the films I passed over in October while I was focusing on Halloween movies, and, so far, they've all been disappointing. This movie was in limbo for a couple years, for whatever reason, and I think I finally understand why: it's simply a collage of cliched plot lines. It sucks...I was looking forward to this one, because it had a cool trailer, I liked the notion of a haunted house on a plane, and I'm a fan of Takashi Shimizu's work. While Mr. Shimizu's usual flair for aesthetics and atmospheric dread are certainly present, this is a by the numbers horror film with a predictable twist, that is overly foreshadowed, and devoid of scares. On the positive side, at least this is the first time I get to address the luscious Jamie Chung in action; we'll be seeing more of her at some point, that's for sure.

The story is that the whitest-looking flight to Tokyo appears to be haunted by something. Here we go again--Sam...Dean, you boys ready? The film spends a lot of time establishing the cornball drama of the characters and feels all too reminiscent of "Lost." Also, most of the characters have no discernible reason why they would be going to Tokyo in the first place. Honeymoons? Nice try coming from characters who don't appear they would appreciate Japan. The main red herring is a weird guy, with a wooden box, who is the first to die in a mysterious fashion. Considering the twist, I still don't get what happened to this guy, but, needless to say, he has no bearing on the situation. They clear out the top portion of the plane and cluster everyone in one spot together; this hardly matters because the continuity on the positioning of the passengers is terrible.

Later on, there is a loss of air pressure on the plane, but they soon stabilize. A huge douchebag uses this opportunity to steal the red herring's watch, but he, of course, goes bye bye. It's never explicitly addressed, and I will explain it since the film didn't bother to, but people clearly begin to disappear at this point. The main cast thinks this has something to do with the red herring, and they go through his luggage to find a weird doll; would have been infinitely cooler if they found Kayako's diary instead. More people get picked off by the ghost, or whatever the hell it is, as you should start to realize the twist; the characters begin to let go of their drama right before disappearing. Big surprise, the remaining passengers find their own dead bodies sitting in their seats from when the plane lost air pressure. Oh noooeess, they've been dead all along! In case you still can't figure it out, rest assured, the film spoon-feeds it to you with a news broadcast, that magically comes on, explaining that they all suffocated and that the plane will crash when the fuel runs out. And if that weren't enough of a cliched ending, they still threw in a final zinger of the most annoying character getting killed off (?) at the end. Uhh, that makes no fucking sense if we already know that character is, in fact, dead! Speaking of which, what is this force "killing" everyone? Should I infer that everyone went to hell considering the violent way in which they realize the truth? I suppose the dumbest characters did meet the more horrible fates while the better ones get to disappear into the heavenly sunset. Ehhh...I'm calling bullshit anyway; it was merely a ploy to add scares when there shouldn't have been any.

Hell, if they stuck with the original assertion, of "The Grudge" on a plane, that might have been halfway decent. I felt like they could have done more given the somewhat interesting plot they had to work with. This movie was ridiculously short too, so the fact that the red herring was completely useless only emphasizes the padding. What few scares there were, were all jump scares and weak ones at that. Overall, it was just a big pile of meh and wasted potential. The only real saving graces were the cinematography, creepy music, and decently cute girls like Ms. Chung. Well, if you managed to go the last couple years forgetting all about this film's existence, I'd say continue on with that mindset.

Notable Moment: When the one guy is watching the "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet" episode from "The Twilight Zone." Yeaaaah...because they would totally play that during a flight. Are you fucking kidding me?!

Final Rating: 5/10

Ms. Chung...the highlight of many mediocre films: